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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I am attempting to open a cat cafe, where we have adoptable

Customer Question

I am attempting to open a cat cafe, where we have adoptable cat, a petstore and food available. In finding our location we picked a place.
The land use said a kennel is prohibited, we didn't not think we were a kennel since the majority of our income will come from retail sales.
How do we go about defining if we are a kennel or not?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
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Can you please tell me what city/county this is in, and, who is telling you that use of a kennel is prohibited - county or municipal?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The location is the city of austin, TXA local neighborhood planning committee for where we signed our lease is trying to say our cat cafe is a kennel.
We assumed we'd be a pet store since our profits come from retail not from is the ordinance that says where kennels are permitted and not.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
we are trying to find out what we would technically be classified as, and how that classification comes about.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Who makes the final decision - the neighborhood planning committee or the city?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the final decision on what a company's use is classified as? I do not know that answer.The planning committee has no power they make recommendations to the city, that the city often follows. They do not want us there because issues with the previous site tennants.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. You told me what I needed to know.
Cat cafes are a recent phenomenon that originated in Japan. However recreations of this in USA have proven problematic, because many US jurisdictions simply do not know how to deal with this from a legal point of liability, zoning, etc. So it is a bit of a mess.
Now this is basically a zoning issue. However, the zoning law is created with no cat cafe in mind. It only thinks about kennels and non-kennels. So the language is frankly - unclear.
What can one do? One has to administratively appeal the zoning board's decision (that is with the city), and then once the administrative appeal comes to an end, one can file a Writ of Mandamus to have the Court review the decision and possibly reverse it.
Because the zoning law is unclear, the Court would look at this from point of view of INTENT:
There is one building-block principle this Court has declared repeatedly and emphatically: the "surest guide" to what lawmakers intended is what lawmakers enacted.[87] We are interpreting words, and where those words are not doubtful, even though their wisdom may be, we are bound to honor them. Accordingly, since intent is driven by text, we must not accept the peculiar view that construing the Act's definition of "general contractor" by its terms would subvert legislative intent. Indeed, it is displacing the concreteness of what was actually said with the conjecture of what was allegedly meant that invites activism, a mischievous way for courts to put a finger on the scale (or in the wind) and thus substitute judicial intent for legislative intent. Our place in the constitutional architecture requires fidelity to what lawmakers actually passed.
Consequently, we must focus on what a statute says and, just as attentively, on what it does not say, taking care to honor substantive changes, both additions and deletions, made over the years, and always presuming that the Legislature chose its language carefully. As for what the Act includes, its definition of "general contractor" is notable for two things: (1) a solitary description ("undertakes to procure the performance of work"), including a non-exhaustive list of synonyms ("`principal contractor,' `original contractor,' `prime contractor,' or other analogous term"); and (2) a solitary exclusion ("a motor carrier that provides a transportation service through the use of an owner operator"). Any entity that falls inside the former and outside the latter is shielded from tort liability if it provides workers' compensation coverage to its contractors' employees. As for what the Act excludes, we must give effect to the Legislature's deletion in 1989 of a provision ("contracted with another party") that contemplated a general contractor contracting upstream with a premises owner.

Entergy Gulf States, Inc. v. Summers, 282 SW 3d 433 - Tex: Supreme Court 2009
Then, the Court decides. I am sorry to say however there is no IMMEDIATE answer. This is on a case by case basis. However, knowing above may help one understand how the Court would look at this and possibly how to argue the matter.
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I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would a cat cafe be considered a kennel?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My question has always been would a cat cafe be considered a kennel ?
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
That is the question that is uncertain. A business that also allows animals to roam around is somewhat new to the USA (aside from the petting farm). As such, many jurisdictions simply do not know what to do. The zoning laws are a step behind, so it is up to the Court to DECIDE what the zoning laws MEAN when applied this way. At this point, the zoning laws are simply lacking the specificity, and the Court has to SAY whether a cat cafe would be a kennel or not.
Thank you again for not shooting the messenger.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
we went to the city, the city ordinance, which is available online has definite definitons of what is considered a kennel and what isn't you told me neither where to look for it, or found the actual information based on the city ordinances online.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
My apologies - I thought you knew the definitions, but wanted proof to argue that a cafe would not be considered a kennel.
In other words, I thought you wanted argument, and not a definition.
Which ordinance are you referencing, please? I can explain how this ties in.